D&D 5E D&D Beyond Self-Censorship: Pride Month Digital Dice Blocked In Some Countries

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It's hard to believe that Hasbro legal is a wholly distinct entity from WotC legal, or that WotC content policy wouldn't be informed by its parent company when marketing to a country where that parent company has 20 employees on the ground.
I don't think the latter is at all hard to believe, actually - just look at various EA-owned dev studios rebelling against EA's anti-choice stance. It's not uncommon for one part of a business to have different ideas to another when it comes to ethics - hell, my company has had to advise on that sort of thing before. The former is obviously dependent on jurisdiction, laws, type of incorporation and so on. There are, in fact, jurisdictions where they could be wholly distinct legal entities. In the UK they could be, if they set the business up right, for example. I believe that there are also quite a few US states where the same could be true.
 

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Some times I suspect Hasbro CEOs have got good "links" with the "gift of the prophecy", for example to avoid troubles about the shipping from China.

D&D can become one of the main symbols of the current Western culture, and that should a reason to be proud, but some people with bad intentions could...start something like a new version of "satanic panic". Hasbro worries too much about to sell a image of "kid-friendly" and relatively "ideologically neutral".

Maybe the next year we can see a rainbow dices pact, but without metion about "alternate style of life".

I have read some minutes ago: Saudi-backed Savvy Gaming Group purchases $1 billion stake in Embracer Group. This has made me to remember 2022 is being a very busy year in the entertaiment industry, and Hasbro as a big megacorporation talks with lot of people from different parts of world for possible parternships. If some Saud Arabia investor group was interested into Hasbro and this wanted to show the image of "Asian-friendly" we can guess the will for some "sacrifices" to open certain markets. Sorry, maybe I can't the right words to explain it in the best way.
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
Corporations exist to maximize shareholder value, period. Everything they do is based on that one thing. Some corps may be skilled at making the public believe otherwise, but at the end of the day, they will take profits over idealism.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Corporations exist to maximize shareholder value, period. Everything they do is based on that one thing. Some corps may be skilled at making the public believe otherwise, but at the end of the day, they will take profits over idealism.
And we should all make sure to let them know we will minimize how much money we'll give them while they behave thusly.

All of them.
 

Ondath

Adventurer
Turkey is a country where LBGTQI+ content must be classified as 18+, which is a modification WotC/Hasbro may not want to implement, especially considering the small market for them there. It's also a country where, at least in some areas, including Ankara, public pro-LGBTQI+ demonstrations are illegal.
To clarify a point, though the Ministry of Trade issue one such requirement for e-commerce, it's not a done deal. Many lawyers think the decision itself was not legal, and insist that there is no legal basis for banning or restricting LGBT content in Turkey. Here's an article discussing the legal situation in light of Riot's "colour festival" precaution in Turkish. Google Translate will probably offer a decent translation, but I'll translate the key part myself, where a practising lawyer gives a rundown of the current situation:

"Here's what we should look at: (...) Of course, there are no laws in Turkey making it necessary to refer to rainbows as "colour festival", or that bans video games from using LGBTI+ imagery. As a result, the statements that the company did this to "comply with local laws" or "localise" the content all belie the fact that this was the company's decision. There are no laws that would force the company to take these steps. If there were any compelling norms to this effect, the company would mention them in their statements. Then we could ask: Does the referred law really ban commemorating 17 May [International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia] or Pride Week? Does it ban the use of rainbow flags? Does it force the apolotisation of an expression symbolising LGBTI+ people in the form of 'colour festival'? The company's statement refers to no such law."

"So why might have they done this? They probably acted in light of the homophobic decision taken by the Advertisement Board of the Ministry of Trade (...). The decision was: 'Rainbow-themed goods in e-commerce hurt children's moral development. So websites that sell such goods must place a +18 disclaimer on such goods.' But I'll reiterate, (...) this decision has no legal ground. It was a decision taken with no basis on Turkish Trade Law or Law On Consumer Protection, or any other law. (...) The company probably felt the pressure of this LGBTI+-phobic atmosphere and took this decision even though there is no legal requirement for them to do so. This isn't a problem only for LGBTI+ people in Turkey, it's a matter that concerns LGBTI+ players of this game no matter where they live. Let me say that again, there is no law in Turkey that forces companies to take these decisions."


So while I am not a lawyer, I can say that there are at least some legal experts that argue that there is no legal problem with providing pride-themed products in Turkey.
 


BigZebra

Adventurer
Did you try contacting D&D Beyond with your thoughts? Maybe it was a mistake Turkey was put in that umbrella? I mean never assign malice to what simply could be stupidity. Maybe worth doing before the some tour?
 

TheSword

Legend
To clarify a point, though the Ministry of Trade issue one such requirement for e-commerce, it's not a done deal. Many lawyers think the decision itself was not legal, and insist that there is no legal basis for banning or restricting LGBT content in Turkey. Here's an article discussing the legal situation in light of Riot's "colour festival" precaution in Turkish. Google Translate will probably offer a decent translation, but I'll translate the key part myself, where a practising lawyer gives a rundown of the current situation:

"Here's what we should look at: (...) Of course, there are no laws in Turkey making it necessary to refer to rainbows as "colour festival", or that bans video games from using LGBTI+ imagery. As a result, the statements that the company did this to "comply with local laws" or "localise" the content all belie the fact that this was the company's decision. There are no laws that would force the company to take these steps. If there were any compelling norms to this effect, the company would mention them in their statements. Then we could ask: Does the referred law really ban commemorating 17 May [International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia] or Pride Week? Does it ban the use of rainbow flags? Does it force the apolotisation of an expression symbolising LGBTI+ people in the form of 'colour festival'? The company's statement refers to no such law."

"So why might have they done this? They probably acted in light of the homophobic decision taken by the Advertisement Board of the Ministry of Trade (...). The decision was: 'Rainbow-themed goods in e-commerce hurt children's moral development. So websites that sell such goods must place a +18 disclaimer on such goods.' But I'll reiterate, (...) this decision has no legal ground. It was a decision taken with no basis on Turkish Trade Law or Law On Consumer Protection, or any other law. (...) The company probably felt the pressure of this LGBTI+-phobic atmosphere and took this decision even though there is no legal requirement for them to do so. This isn't a problem only for LGBTI+ people in Turkey, it's a matter that concerns LGBTI+ players of this game no matter where they live. Let me say that again, there is no law in Turkey that forces companies to take these decisions."


So while I am not a lawyer, I can say that there are at least some legal experts that argue that there is no legal problem with providing pride-themed products in Turkey.
The statement is a world wide decision, rather than specifically Turkey. It’s possible (if not probably) that the statement relates to the many places where it is illegal and Turkey was included due to the grey areas you described above.
 
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I agree with @Ondath that this reeks of typical Western condescension and islamophobia. You can walk down İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul and you’ll see nothing but Western brands and chain restaurants (and cats).

Both you and Ondath have focused on Istanbul in your descriptions. Can you also give us an idea of what the LGBT community might be like (or what they experience) in geographically different places like in Antalya, Sivas, or Van? I picked these cities randomly off a map, so feel free to replace them with other examples.

My goal here is to get a better understanding of the country as a whole. I'm a little concerned about falling into the trap where people think all of the US is New York City.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
The statement is a world wide decision, rather than specifically Turkey. It’s possible that the statement relates to the many places where it is illegal and Turkey was included due to thr grey areas you described above.

I'm inclined to give WotC the benefit of the doubt here due to what I consider their above-average track record in this particular area. However, I do think they should respond to any request Ondath makes for them to clarify their position with regard to Turkey specifically. In this case, this individual market may have been unfairly blocked due to laziness/assumptions/prejudice, or it may have been blocked for actual legal issues or legit concerns that we don't know about.
 


Crimson Terrain

Explorer
Publisher
Whatever the reality of the situation is. I'd say this is a rather unfortunate decision as it undermines the supposed intent behind making something of this nature available in the first place. I get the legal and business reasons for doing such a thing, but it still stands at least to me that if you're going to only represent an issue where it is convenient to do so, then you are not really supporting it in the way such gestures are meant to. Would it be better not to do this at all if you aren't going to make it available everywhere...maybe, but arguments could surely be made to the opposite. I don't honestly know the absolute answer to this. However, at least speaking for myself, I would not engage in attempting to represent a group or issue if I were not willing to represent it everywhere regardless of any consequence, social, legal, or otherwise.
 

Ondath

Adventurer
Wouldn't Wizards need to put an "18+ warning" on the promotion to legally make it available in Turkey?

I explained above that there is no legal basis for the ministry's decision, and many companies like Amazon sell pride-themed goods with no +18 disclaimer.
 

I explained above that there is no legal basis for the ministry's decision, and many companies like Amazon sell pride-themed goods with no +18 disclaimer.
Ah, I guess the article is inaccurate. My apologies.

Rather, it instructs that selling the merchandise without a warning “constitutes a violation of the legal regulations”, read the letter, signed by Oğuz Şahin, a deputy general manager at the Ministry of Commerce.

He noted that companies that do not rate rainbow goods as 18+ will see advertisements suspended.

The twin backbone of the new rule will be a pair of clauses in Article 24 of Turkey’s 2015 Regulation on Commercial Advertisement and Unfair Commercial Practices, the letter said.
 


The ministry did make that threat, yes, but it isn't universally applied. Also, if the only sanction they have on their hands is suspending advertisement, that means nothing for D&D Beyond since their website doesn't have any advertisements anyway.

Yeah, I have no idea how the rule might be interpreted, applied or enforced, and I suspect Wizards doesn't either. I expect they take guidance from the governments of the countries where they operate and set a policy that isn't revised until new guidance is forthcoming. I'd be extraordinarily surprised if there is someone in their legal department looking at each Pride promotion they might want to do and evaluating its legality in individual markets.

In any case, thanks for shining some light on it.
 

Both you and Ondath have focused on Istanbul in your descriptions. Can you also give us an idea of what the LGBT community might be like (or what they experience) in geographically different places like in Antalya, Sivas, or Van? I picked these cities randomly off a map, so feel free to replace them with other examples.

My goal here is to get a better understanding of the country as a whole. I'm a little concerned about falling into the trap where people think all of the US is New York City.
I think it’s roughly similar to the United States in that less urban areas are perhaps more conservative. And I think the threat on that level is more from hostile individuals than the government. The state will shut down a public pride parade, for example, but is not likely to come to your house because they see you’ve been rolling rainbow colored dice. I mean, @Ondath is, as we speak, posting about these dice on twitter and here, which is much more visible than just using them on dnd beyond.

Another way to say that, is if these pride dice are available in wyoming, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be available in Turkey.
 

However, if they do choose to support a social cause, and to attempt to reap publicity/PR benefit from supporting that cause, then they do become ethically obligated to be transparent about their support for that cause, and any bounds on it, and they need to actually support it. Something which WotC are currently failing extremely hard at. "No taxation without representation". Except here it's "No claiming you support social causes without actually doing it".
Agreed. Though I would suggest one consider that transparency is not all or nothing, it has degrees of opaqueness. I disagree that WotC is failing extremely ard, but again it is a matter of degree. And as others have said, given WotC's track record on the issue, i think they have earned some leeway and some time to develop a response. Pus we should realize "they" might not even be aware of the impact of their current policy and the concern that it be reconsidered.
n case you're just being absolutely clumsy and terrible at arguing, or profoundly misunderstood/confused me with someone else,
Have you noticed that this seems to be a typical response from you to arguments you don't agree with? Perhaps we should all try and mae a it more effort to understand the point the other is trying to make or view to discuss rather than attacking the means in which it is done.
But it's pretty bad to claim to support something but not actually to make any effort.
In this case, WotC is making an effort. Maybe they have made mistakes or errors in execution of that support, but they clearly have made an effort to support LBGTQ+ causes.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
It is. And its still something I find strange. In general I don't think companies should be obligated to engage in social issues. And when they chose to do so, should they not be allowed to do so as they wish? And of course, if we don't like how a company choses to do that, then we as individuals get to decide how we interact with them.

But just as I believe that I have no right to insist on how another human choses to interact on a social issue (as long as they are not doing so illegally and/or immorally), I don't see an individual's right to demand such of a corporation. BUT, I do hope that people and corporations CAN engage in discussions on the ways in which they chose to get involved (or not) in social issues.

So, by all means, try to engage WotC in discussing their decision if they are willing. But if they chose not to engage in such a discussion, take it for what it is and move on.
It seems to me,

Today, corporations are more powerful than democratically elected governments. Indeed, cooperation between the corporate plutocracy often determines, by means of financial support, who can and cannot win an election.

With power comes responsibility. Especially ethical responsibilities.

Dont let the perfect become an enemy of the good. But it is reasonable to hold corporate cultures accountable for ethical policies.
 

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